UPGRADE: most owners need more RAM; how you decide
Date: February, 1989
Keywords: RAM upgrade tips hints decision memory simm
Text: You've got Multifinder open plus a few applications, such as your favorite word-processing program, HyperCard and maybe PageMaker. You find it rough going with only one megabyte of Random Access Memory, standard on all current Macintoshes. Even turning off the RAM Cache on the Control Panel doesn't help. It's time to think about a RAM upgrade, especially since Apple never puts enough memory in its products, whether a Macintosh or an Apple. And it's also decision time. You ask yourself: * Should I buy chips from a mail order house? Macintosh publications are full of ads selling chips, usually suggesting ''Call for current price.'' So it's not only RAM that is volatile, so are the prices. * If I decide to buy by mail order, should I attempt to make the installation yourself? * How much memory should I add -- one or two MB? Or maybe more? * Will I void my warranty or AppleCare claims if I use non-Apple chips? * Perhaps most important of all, can I afford it? John Wentworth, the Macintosh service technician at Capital Business Machines in Eureka, said in a recent interview that using non-Apple chips will not void your warranty or AppleCare contract ''if the board is not modified'' or damaged in the installation. A damaged board means that if the board has to be replaced it will cost you more than $1,000 instead of $300 because Apple will not accept it in exchange, he said. Apple chips for a 2MB upgrade now cost $999 for a Plus, SE or II might be less now because of Apple's price adjustments. What makes the difference in chip quality? Wentworth wasn't sure, but he suggested that Apple ''may have more rigorous testing of their products.'' He said that no vendor sets out to sell bad chips and that there's ''no way to judge whether they'll be good or not. Sometimes the fit is not right.'' ''If it looks like an Apple product, it's probably O.K.,'' he said. You can identify a genuine Apple product because it will have an ''A'' or an apple on it. Wentworth does not recommend the RAM upgrade as a do-it-yourself project. ''If they're not familiar with their Mac, I'd recommend they not do it,'' he said. But he also suggested there might be someone in SMUG who can do it safely. He noted, however, that he was unaware of any other firm in the area besides Capital that does upgrades. ''It's real easy to mess up if you don't know what you're doing,'' said Wentworth, a Fortuna High School graduate who received his training at College of the Redwoods and at Apple. He said Apple may have a list of approved third-party memory chips, but he did not have one available. If you have the confidence to try installing additional RAM yourself, you can find help in the following publications. * The February 1989 issue of MacUser has an article with detailed instructions on doing your own upgrade. See ''The Persistence of Memory'' starting on page 140. It's a well-illustrated article with good information. * Macworld's March 1988 issue has an article on Mac II upgrades. It includes some data on configuring your RAM as well as prices from selected manufacturers. The article starts on page 136. * Macworld discusses upgrades for the Plus and SE in its May 1988 edition. It also gives a step-by-step instructions with illustrations. Although the article tells you how to install an upgrade, Macworld recommends that a trained professional do the job. After reading this article, you may agree. Most Macintosh publications contain ads for non-Apple chips. For example, the Jan. 17 issue of MacWEEK carries three pages of ads. Most suggest you call for current pricing. Finally, how much memory is enough? For most users 2 MB is adequate. Some will say, however, that you never have enough. If you are uncertain how much memory your Mac has, look in ''About the Finder*'' under the Apple menu. Can you afford it? Obviously, that's a personal decision. Nobody ever said owning a Macintosh would be cheap. Besides, with a Mac in the house, our spouses always know where we are.
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